Top Artists – Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder – Music of My Mind – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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Music of My Mind

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

AMAZING A+++ SOUND and relatively quiet vinyl on BOTH sides of this early Stevie Wonder classic, an album that earned four-and-a-half big stars (out of five) in the All Music Guide. Anyone who has followed the site for a while (or tried the shootouts on their own) surely know how difficult it is to find Stevie Wonder records with excellent sound or quiet surfaces — let alone both. This monster pressing should give you everything you ever hoped for from this music and then some!

We had a ton of copies for this shootout and most of them weren’t fit to list on the site at any price. You can go down to your local store and pick up a copy with noisy surfaces and mediocre sound, but we don’t want to be in the business of selling records like that. I don’t know too many audiophiles who want to put up with dull, recessed, congested and compressed sonics no matter how good the music is, and that’s just what you get on most copies of this one.

This copy is an entirely different story, which we recognized immediately when we dropped the needle on each side. There’s real immediacy and plenty of extension up top. The soundfield is open, spacious and transparent with lots of analog tubey magic. (more…)

Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life

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Songs In The Key Of Life

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  • This outstanding copy of Stevie Wonder’s epic double album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Here you will find Tubey Magical Richness, as well as the kind of immediacy and transparency that few copies have – all qualities essential to getting the best sound from Stevie’s Magnum Opus 
  • A true musical genius (according to Eddie Murphy) here joins forces with other legends including Herbie Hancock, George Benson, and Deniece Williams
  • 5 stars: “…Stevie Wonder’s longest, most ambitious collection of songs… that — just as the title promised — touched on nearly every issue under the sun, and did it all with ambitious (even for him), wide-ranging arrangements and some of the best performances of Wonder’s career. “

Double albums are usually very tedious work for us, but this one had us smiling and tapping our feet all the way through to the end of the last side. I’m sure you don’t need a rundown of why this is such a great album, but the 5 star AMG review is an excellent read for those who want to be reminded. (Click on the tab above.) (more…)

Stevie Wonder – Innervisions

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Innervisions

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  • With two outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides, this is an all around killer pressing – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • One of the funkiest audiophile-quality discs money can buy, but you need a copy that sounds as good as this one to make that case
  • The key qualities are richness, warmth, Tubey Magic, and clarity, and here you will find a healthy dose of all four
  • “Stevie Wonder applied his tremendous songwriting talents to the unsettled social morass that was the early ’70s and produced one of his greatest, most important works, a rich panoply of songs addressing drugs, spirituality, political ethics, and what looked to be the failure of the ’60s dream — all set within a collection of charts as funky and catchy as any he’d written before.”

Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Stevie Wonder singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that. (more…)

Stevie Wonder – Talking Book – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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Talking Book

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

An A+++ White Hot side two backed with an A++ side one! We just finished our another big shootout for this album, and those of you who are familiar with this record will not be surprised that it was TOUGH. This side two is an entirely different story than most pressings — the sound is big, lively and three-dimensional! 

You could play dozens of copies of this album and never hear a side two this good. Heck, we’ve played hundreds of copies over the years with almost nothing to show for it!

Side One

A++, with a big, rich bottom end and clear, present vocals. So good!

Side Two

A+++, As Good As It Gets! Big and solid, open and spacious, this side is doing everything we could ask it to. Pay particular attention to the kick drum — it sounds just right here! The vocals are breathy and present, and the soundstage is amazingly big and three-dimensional.

Even the hottest copies never reached the sonic heights of InnerVisions or Songs In The Key Of Life, but at least they presented the music in a way that audiophiles like us can enjoy. (more…)

Stevie Wonder’s Second Masterpiece

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In my opinion this is clearly the second of Stevie Wonder’s two MASTERPIECES.

It could also be one of the Great Albums You May Not Know.

Over the course of the last year or two, for the first time in my life I’ve really gotten to know the album well, having found a CD at a local store to play in the car. I’ve listened to Fulfillingness’ First Finale scores of times and now see that is some of the best work Stevie Wonder ever did, right up there with Innervisions and miles ahead of any other Stevie Wonder album.

To my mind the best songs on the album are the quieter, more heartfelt and emotional ones, not the rockers or funky workouts. My personal favorites on side one are: Smile Please. Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away, Too Shy to Say and Creepin’, which, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, are all the songs that weren’t hits.

On side two the two slowest songs are the ones I now like best: It Ain’t No Use & They Won’t Go When I Go (famously and brilliantly covered by George Michael on Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 in 1990).

If you take one of our Hot Stampers home see if you don’t find something very special about the tracks I have noted above.

Balance (more…)